NIJ and FBI Announce Sexual Assault Kit Partnership

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory have formed a partnership to help address one of the most difficult and complex issues facing our nation’s criminal justice system: unsubmitted sexual assault kits (frequently referred to as untested). The FBI will be a centralized testing laboratory for sexual assault kits, commonly referred to as rape kits, to be submitted from the nation’s law enforcement agencies and public forensic laboratories.


Each month, the FBI Laboratory will process and test a limited number of previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits while scientists at NIJ collect and analyze data about the kits. The goal of this project is to better understand the issues concerning the handling of sexual assault kits and suggest ways to improve the collection and processing of quality DNA evidence. Additionally, NIJ will gather information from the program to help inform training practices and testing protocols for sexual assault kits and improve the quality and practices for collecting evidence and processing sexual assault kits.

During the course of this partnership, the FBI will enter eligible profiles generated from DNA analysis into NDIS to aid in the investigation of violent crimes involving sexual assault. The NDIS database contains DNA profiles contributed by participating federal, state, and local forensic DNA laboratories. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the federal government, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory and Puerto Rico participate in NDIS. As of July 2013, NDIS contains over 12,056,400 offender profiles and 504,700 forensic profiles.

Any law enforcement agency or public forensic laboratory is eligible to submit sexual assault kits. The unsubmitted sexual assault kits entered into the program must currently be in the custody of a state or local law enforcement agency or public forensic lab; must be from an incident that took place more than one year from the time of submission; must not have been subjected to any prior biological testing; and must include an incident or police report for each kit submitted.

Each agency may submit no more than 30 kits per request, and the submitting agency must pay shipping costs to and from the FBI DNA lab in Quantico, Va.

To learn more, visit the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership webpage.

Source: NIJ

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